- Submitted Photo
- Forever Abomination album artwork (2011).
It's late on a Wednesday afternoon when I reach Dustin Boltjes, an Indianapolis native and drummer for Athens, Ohio-based metallers Skeletonwitch. He and his bandmates have just checked into a hotel in Ontario. The band has a lucky day off during a run of dates and has spent the time driving towards their next show in Winnipeg.
"[The tour] has been really good. You always hit those little, weird towns where you get maybe 50-60 people, but even the smaller crowds like that are stoked. In the big cities like Montreal and Toronto, we do really well," says Boltjes.
"Since I've been in the band, we've done one previous Canadian headliner, but we've also been through Canada on two or three support tours. Canada's got love for the 'witch!"
Boltjes and the members of Skeletonwitch have been friends since 2008 when they and his former band, Demiricous, toured together. The bands kept in touch over the years, even playing shows together. And when Skeletonwitch found themselves without a drummer in 2011 with their fourth album Forever Abomination scheduled to be recorded in a month, Boltjes stepped up.
"Scottie [Hendrick, guitar] called me and said they needed someone to play drums on their new record. We got together to go over the songs which went really well. We knocked the record out, and the rest is history."
A relentless tour across North America and Europe followed, with time in the studio after. The band recently finished recording their fifth album, Serpents Unleashed, with producer (and Converge guitarist) Kurt Ballou at God City Studios, Salem, Mass. Boltjes. The band is extremely happy with the results.
"Kurt was great to work with," said Boltjes. "He kicked my ass, that's for sure. There was minimal punch-ins and he had a lot of cool input as far as arranging or encouraging us to try something different. I think this record has finally, completely captured the essence of how the band sounds live."
Serpents Unleashed is set for release in October this year, but the band isn't resting in the meantime. They have one-off shows lined up for Puerto Rico in July, as well as a week of dates opening for Ghost in the United States. Their current tour, however, ends in Indianapolis on Monday, June 17with a free show at The Sinking Ship.
"[The show] was my idea. I've been in this band for a while now and no tour we've done has come through Indianapolis. I got with the folks at the Ship, we got [Butler] Scion involved and it turned out to be a pretty awesome thing."
The event is also a benefit for Three Carrots, a vegan and vegetarian restaurant in the works by Killer Tofu owner Ian Phillips.